09/10/2006 8:15 PM - The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks and the Gary SouthShore RailCats will meet
in the 2006 Northern League Championship Series, beginning Tuesday
night in Gary.
Both clubs won the decisive fifth game of their respective semifinal
playoff series Sunday to set up a rematch of the 2005 N.L.C.S.
Ironically, just as the RailCats did in defeating the RedHawks in the
2005 N.L.C.S., both clubs won the final three games of their semifinal
series, against Schaumburg and Winnipeg, respectively, to advance to
the Championship Series.
The RailCats clinched a return trip to the Northern League
Championship Series with a 7-0 win over the Schaumburg Flyers in the
fifth and deciding game of the Northern League East Division
Semifinal, before 1,258 fans at U. S. Steel Yard in Gary Sunday.
The RailCats won the final three games of the series at home after
dropping the first two games in Schaumburg.
Fargo-Moorhead heads to the finals for a fifth time in 11 seasons,
after taking a 3-2 win from the Winnipeg Goldeyes in in the fifth and
deciding game of the Northern League West Division Semifinal, before
2,414 fans at Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo Sunday.
Kory Wayment (pictured at right) hit a bases-loaded single with two
outs in the bottom of the ninth to lift the RedHawks to the victory.
The RedHawks won the series despite scoring a total of just 13 runs in
the five games.
Sunday in Gary, RailCats starting pitch Josh Habel limited the Flyers
to just four hits over seven shutout innings, while the RailCats
pounded out 17 hits in blanking the Flyers for the second time in
In fact, Schaumburg scored just one run in the final three games of
the series. Gary defeated Schaumburg 1-0 Friday in game three, and
10-1 Saturday in game four.
Habel walked two and struck out two. The left-hander won for the
eighth time in 12 starts this season at U. S. Steel Yard. Relievers
Travis Kerber, Kris Regas, and Pete Sikaras combined to work the final
two innings, with Sikaras pitching a 1-2-3 ninth to clinch the win and
the best-of-five series.
Gary scored in six of their eight half-inning at-bats. The RailCats
notched their first run in the second inning when Andy Rohleder drew a
one-out walk and scored when Flyers CF Rob Marconi misjudged Alex
Taylor's line drive, with Marconi slipping and falling as the ball
carried over his head for an RBI-triple.
Gary plated an unearned run in the third inning, when Tanner Townsend
reached on an error, advanced to third on Steve Haake's double, and
scored on an RBI-groundout by Chris Curry.
Three consecutive singles by Townsend, Haake, and Jermaine Allensworth
made the score 3-0 Gary in the fifth.
The RailCats loaded the bases on two singles and a walk in the sixth,
before Townsend delivered a two-run single that put Gary ahead 5-0.
The RailCats added runs on RBI-singles by Jay Pecci and Jarrod
Patterson in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively.
Dating back to the 2005 playoffs, the RailCats have now won 10
consecutive games in which the club was facing elimination. The
RailCats won five straight elimination games to take the 2005 Northern
League title, won the final two games of the regular season to take
the Northern League East Division second-half title, and won three
straight games from the Flyers after dropping the first two games of
the series in Schaumburg.
In Fargo, the Redhawks rallied from a 2-0 deficit in Sunday's game to
complete their comeback from a two-games-to-none deficit in the
series. Winnipeg grabbed the lead in the fourth inning when Will Smith
walked, David Gates singled, Matt Mann bunted the runners over, and
Corey Stang delivered a two-RBI single.
Those tallies would be the only runs the Goldeyes would score against
four Fargo-Moorhead pitchers. After Stang's hit, Brian Adams relieved
RedHawks starter Brion Treadway and scattered four hits over three and
Fargo-Moorhead tied the game in the seventh, loading the bases on two
walks and a single before Scott Goodman delivered a two-run single off
Winnipeg reliever Josh Kite. Winnipeg starter Luis Villareal had
handcuffed the RedHawks on just one hit and one walk over the first
six innings, but was lifted after yielding a walk to Ruben Salazar and
a single to Richard Austin to start the seventh.
RedHawks reliever Mark Michael started the eighth, but yielded a
leadoff double to Mann and a sacrifice bunt to Stang, advancing Mann
Josh Gray relieved Michael and got Max Poulin to ground out to a
drawn-in infield. After Gray walked Fehlandt Lentini intentionally and
Lentini stole second base, Gray retired Amos Ramon on a ground ball to
shortstop. Ramon went hitless in 19 at-bats in the series.
In the RedHawks ninth, Austin hit a leadoff single and advanced to
second on Harry Berrios' groundout. After Kite intentionally walked
Allen Mottram, the Winnpeg reliever retired Goodman on a groundout,
with Mottram and Austin advancing to second and third. Kite then hit
Craig Ringe with a pitch to load the bases, before Wayment delivered
the series-winning hit.
The Gary/Fargo-Moorhead rematch marks only the second time in Northern
League history that the same two teams have met in the Championship
Series in consecutive years. Winnipeg (Northern League Central) and
New Jersey (Northern League East) met in the N.L.C.S. in both 2001 and
2002, with New Jersey taking both crowns.
2006 Northern League Playoff Results & Schedule
Semifinal Series: East Division
Game 1: Tuesday, September 5: Schaumburg 7, Gary 6 (11 innings)
Game 2: Wednesday, September 6: Schaumburg 2, Gary 0
Game 3: Friday, September 8: Gary 1, Schaumburg 0
Game 4 Saturday, September 9: Gary 10, Schaumburg 1
Game 5 Sunday, September 10: Gary 7, Schaumburg 0
Gary wins the best-of-five series, three games to two
Semifinal Series: West Division
Game 1: Tuesday, September 5: Winnipeg 8, Fargo-Moorhead 0
Game 2: Wednesday, September 6: Winnipeg 6, Fargo-Moorhead 4
Game 3: Friday, September 8: Fargo-Moorhead 2, Winnipeg 0
Game 4 Saturday, September 9: Fargo-Moorhead 4, Winnipeg 3
Game 5: Sunday, September 10: Fargo-Moorhead 3, Winnipeg 2
Fargo-Moorhead wins the best-of-five series, three games to two
Championship Series: (all times CDT)
Game 1: Tuesday, September 12: Fargo-Moorhead @ Gary, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Wednesday, September 13: Fargo-Moorhead @ Gary, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Friday, September 15: Gary @ Fargo-Moorhead, 6:05 p.m.
Game 4 (if necessary): Saturday, September 16: Gary @ Fargo-Moorhead, 1:35 p.m.
Game 5 (if necessary): Sunday, September 17: Gary @ Fargo-Moorhead, 6:05 p.m.